The Art Quilt Gallery NYC has generated quite the buzz since it opened in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City this past April. It's no wonder considering the lineup of incredible quilt artists they've already booked for shows including Noriko Endo, whose work is currently on display.
Owners Cathy Izzo and Dale Riehl opened the commercial gallery alongside their well-known quilt shop The City Quilter. Cathy Izzo was kind enough to answer my questions about The Art Quilt Gallery NYC and I was excited to learn more about how the gallery came to be and what shows they are currently planning.
You are the only
commercial gallery in New York City focused solely on contemporary art quilts. How
did The Art Quilt Gallery NYC come to be and how did you decide this was a
niche that needed to be filled?
Dale and I had been attending International Quilt Market
in Houston for many years. In Houston you get to see the cream of quilting from
around the world, the best of the best, and it's so striking. We talked about
how more people should see the amazing quilts we were able to see in Houston. In
New York City not as many people know about art quilting and we wanted to show
people what's really going on in the art quilt community.
We had an unexpected opportunity to expand our store and when
that happened we decided to devote part of the new space to the gallery. If
we'd had to get a new space to open the gallery, it most likely wouldn't have
happened. Opening The Art Quilt Gallery NYC is very close to both of our hearts,
and we feel the amazing work being done by art quilters today should be seen by
I've read that
you seek to counter the age-old misrepresentation that quilts can't be high art. Can
you share how this influences the way you run the gallery?
Traditionally quilting has not been considered fine art,
I think, partly because it's mostly women who do it and it's something that
started out as a domestic art-out of necessity and use. And while not every quilt
is necessarily classified as art, there are quilts that are art. The first
artist we chose to exhibit was Daphne Taylor who is not as well known as some art
quilters. But she has a fine arts background, with a master's in painting. She
switched to creating textiles about 15 years ago and she has been an artist all
her life. We felt she was a good example to be the first exhibitor in our
Your quilt shop, The
City Quilter, has long been a destination for quilt enthusiasts, including
international tourists and locals alike. The shop is located next door to the
gallery. What audience are you hoping to draw into the gallery? Are you hoping
to broaden the audience to non-quilters?
Most quilters who come to New York City seem to seek us
out if they can. Now they have something extra to see. To be able to interact
with world-class quilts almost every day of the year is an inspiration. We've
had so many quilters come in and say that they had no idea that art quilts were
like this. Our core customers are thrilled to see this level of work. On the
other hand, we're trying to get non-quilters in. It is a commercial gallery, so
the art is for sale. We try to draw other clientele such as interior decorators
and people who buy art for public buildings.
What has been the
response you've had from the NYC quilting community?
Everyone who walks into the gallery is so happy. People
who come bring their friends back to share the work. It's very gratifying and
we've gotten a lot of thanks which has been nice.
You also have
lectures and special events. Is there an educational aspect to the gallery?
Definitely. Our second exhibit is with Noriko Endo and
she will be teaching two classes and giving a gallery talk open to the public
for free. We have a great opportunity to have world-famous art quilters come to
New York City and interact with visitors. Carol Taylor will also be teaching an
upcoming class. It's wonderful to get this caliber of quilter to teach and
What are your
future plans and how do you choose art quilters to exhibit in the gallery?
Carol Taylor's "Explosions in Color" opens on September
9, 2011 followed by "Material Witnesses," 22 quilts, each 36" x 36"
from the 22 members of the Manhattan Quilters Guild. Judy Doenias is co-curating
with me. We pour through books of quilts that we love, research people's
submissions, and enjoy picking out people and have a lot of fun in the process.
The potential for sale is an important consideration.
Can you tell us a
little bit about the space? How large is it and how much space do you have to
The gallery is about 30 feet deep by 20 feet. It's not
huge. For Daphne's exhibit we had 21 quilts Noriko has 11 quilts.
Noriko Endo's "Impressionist
Quilts" is on display at The Art Quilt Gallery NYC, June 16 to August 6.
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 11 to 6 pm
Sunday & Monday by appointment only
133 West 25th Street, between 6th & 7th Avenues
A huge thank you to Cathy Izzo and Dale Riehl for graciously sharing their experience opening and running The Art Quilt Gallery NYC.
Have you been to The Art Quilt Gallery NYC or are you planning a visit? Please leave a comment below.